Scotland, Ireland, England & DNA

Take your research further with leading experts Chris Paton and Mia Bennett, featured speakers on our 18th Unlock the Past cruise (Southern Australia) in December 2024.

2 days
– Thu 28 November 2024
– Fri 29 November 2024

Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club
117 Ryedale Road, West Ryde

COST – pre-book by 21 November 2024 to be in the draw for several hundred $$$ in prizes.

  • two days – $150
  • one day – $95

BOOKING – booking form to come
click here to buy tickets – [link to come]

REFUND POLICY – early booking is safe. If your circumstances change between your booking and the event, preventing you from attending, we will refund your booking fee in full – as long as you let us know by the day before the event.


THURSDAY 28 November 2024
9.30am – registration and exhibition
9.55am – welcome and introduction
10.00am – Finding Ancestors with Scottish CensusesC. Paton
11.00am – break and exhibition
11.30am – Introduction to County Research in EnglandM. Bennett
12.30pm – lunch break and exhibition
1.50pm – The Godly Commonwealth: Discover Scottish church recordsC. Paton
2.40pm – Probate: Where there is a WillM. Bennett
3.30pm – break and exhibition
4.00pm – Scottish Research Resources before 1800C. Paton
5.00pm – close

6.00pm – Option to join us for an evening meal at the club

Friday 29 November 2024
9.30am – registration and exhibition
9.55am – welcome and introduction
10.00am – What is Ireland? Understanding the Lay of the LandC. Paton
11.00am – break and exhibition
11.30am – Using DNA to Support Family History ResearchM. Bennett
12.30pm – lunch break and exhibition
1.50pm – Finding the Irish in British RecordsC. Paton
2.40pm – A Life at Home and at SeaM. Bennett
3.30pm – break and exhibition
4.00pm – Sharing Your Family History OnlineC. Paton
5.00pm – close


Food & Drink

  • This is not included in the conference cost. The venue has several dining options and bars to suit your preferences and budget.

Location and access

  • Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club, 117 Ryedale Road, West Ryde
    (16km north west of Sydney CBD)
  • 300m from West Ryde station
  • bus stops just outside the club
  • free undercover parking on site


Australasian Conference 2025
(17th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry & 5th Queensland History State Conference)
Genealogy ebooks
Gould Genealogy & History
Society of Australian Genealogists
Unlock the Past publications


Chris Paton (Scotland) – Scottish & Irish expert

Originally from Northern Ireland, Chris Paton is a Scottish based professional genealogist, running the Scotland’s Greatest Story ancestral research service (

Chris has lectured extensively across Britain, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A regular contributor to several UK based family history publications, and author of many books and guides, he also writes the daily Scottish GENES (Genealogy News and Events) blog at, and edits the monthly eNews publication for members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (

A holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies, Chris has also tutored for the University of Strathclyde’s postgraduate genealogical studies program (, and teaches online Scottish and Irish genealogy courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (

Laphroaig and Connemara are his whiskies of choice!

Mia Bennett (England)

Mia has researched her family history for over 25 years and is a professional genealogist specialising in solving family history mysteries using DNA.

She is an Associate of AGRA and is studying at the IHGS. She gives talks and runs workshops internationally. She has a strong connection with the Society of Genealogists in London having been a trustee.

With two Unlock the Past cruises and several trips to events around the world, she loves to meet others who share her passion.

Her website features blogs about her family as well as a gradually expanding ‘Information’ page.